The Big Read is a literacy program, so one would assume that our program only works within the English discipline. I learned in one of my classes this spring that was taught by Deb Van Duinen, our program’s director, that literacy is important in all of our disciplines. It means something different to be literate in English versus math or science. People can also be literate in things outside of school like a sport or art or a variety of things.
This means that we try to incorporate the other disciplines into our programming and events around our chosen book. For example, last year’s book An American Sunrise allowed us to talk about United States history through topics like the Indian Removal Act, reservations, boarding schools, etc.
We can also see this in Greek Mythology and the fact that Greek myths tell us something about Greek civilization. These myths incorporate the geography of Italy and the surrounding islands. Additionally, they capture their religious beliefs in the gods of Olympus and tell us about their history. As we mentioned last week, literature is important because of the cultural and historical connections made through reading older stories.
History and English sometimes pair together more clearly than other disciplines. Yet, they are still present since the Greeks had sporting events they created myths about, admired Hephaestus who was the god of craftsmanship, and the Greeks made advances in mathematics and science.
On the surface, a difficult text may seem like outdated English, but these texts can combine several of the disciplines since it is a study of a culture that endured many years ago.